[above: Toro y Moi]
Easter (6:30 p.m., Canopy Club)
I’d heard a lot of great things about this band, so theirs was my most anticipated show on Thursday. They didn’t disappoint. The horns were wonderful and they looked like they were having as much fun as we were in the audience. I’m always shy about guessing a band or musician’s influences, but I can’t help but think that, if asked, they’d list Weezer and Primus as favorites.
By the middle of their far-too-short set, the crowd was dancing and the trombone player was crowd surfing. Their final song (I’m sorry; I’m new to this band so I don’t know the title) was the best of the night. Excellent band, Easter.
One quibble: The only song that I didn’t enjoy was their cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” They performed it like it was a joke to them, like it was filler, a song not worth even trying to sing well. In my opinion (and that’s all this is, OK?), when a singer decides to cover a musical legend’s song, he/she should do it as an homage, or with an intent to improve on the original. Show some respect to your betters. Hell, even musical legends, when covering songs by other great artists, know how it’s supposed to be done.
That being said, I enjoyed every other second of Easter’s show.
I just wanted to add that playing Demonstration backwards was a brilliant move. Turns out “Absence” is actually a great opener, and “All the People That I Love the Most” works great as an ending.
Ava Luna (Canopy Club, 7:00 p.m.)
While I admittedly did not catch the lion’s share of this set, it was only because this band was so obviously (and poorly) aping Dirty Projectors. Nobody wants to hear Panic at the Disco shitting all over Radiohead, and guess what? That same principle applies here, too.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Canopy Club, 8:00 p.m.)
My expectation going in to this set (as with well…any show) was that it would sound somewhat similar to UMO’s awesomely psychedelic studio output. So, you can imagine my surprise when we got something between Arctic Monkeys and Wavves, almost entirely made up of gleefully shreddy guitar and pogo-drums. Don’t take that as a complaint — this set was a fucking blast — just a pleasant surprise.
Toro y Moi (Canopy Club, 9:30 p.m.)
What Chas Bundick & co. do live is a middle finger to any label slapped on their music. There was nothing “chill” about their performance Thursday night. Instead they provided a high energy set with wild synthesizers and bass that bumped, and took the audience on a funky sonic adventure with trippy visuals in the background to match. Each of the musicians joining Bundick did a superb job in giving the songs life. On the album the computer generated beats and loops lack authenticity, but on stage those songs were given real feeling. The songs moved and blended together with walls of sound. Bundick’s synths droned and squealed sensationally, working in harmony with the chest thumping bass and the slick drum beats. In concert I was able to see past the hype that has built up around Toro y Moi and become a believer in the music.
Delicate Steve (Channing-Murray, 11:30 p.m.)
The best shows are always the ones you go into blind. How else do you explain Delicate Steve’s volcanic set at the Channing-Murray Chapel? The New Jersey five piece laid impossibly trebly guitar leads (this is why the bridge pickup was invented, folks) over insistent tribal drums, eschewing song structure for solo after glorious solo. Despite running a dissapointingly short twenty-five minutes, the entire show felt like an extended peak, and gave the crowd ample reason to dance.
NewVillager (Channing-Murray, 12:30 a.m.)
I don’t think anyone would have wanted to follow up the Delicate Steve performance, but NewVillager pulled it off with aplomb. Wisely choosing to go in a more cerebral direction, their set consisted of molasses-thick R&B (most noticably recalling James Blake), with a heavy performance art element courtesy of a hooded woman in a fenced-off area in front of the stage. Between the costuming and bizzare stage props, the whole thing began to resemble a scene from a Miyazaki film, especially when the band invited audience members to wear a rather terrifying animal mask. The dancer (? — I think that’s what you’d say) standing completely still for extended periods of time was an especially brilliant move, as it seemed to amplify her movements ten times over, until she finally broke out of the fence and very slowly exited the crowd.
MiM0SA (Canopy Club, 12:45 a.m.)
On some level, dubstep still remains an unsolved rubik’s cube to me. Where others get a full musical experience, I’m left wondering when my chest is going to quit vibrating. On that note, I can’t say I enjoyed Mimosa’s performance, but the large crowd gathered at Canopy certainly did.
Toro y Moi photos by Chris Davies